February 12, 2014


Bill Utterback (1931-2010) was an American illustrator most widely known for his contributions to Playboy and The Second City‘s theatre in Chicago.

Utterback was born on January 5, 1931 in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Utterback attended the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts in the 1940s, and then The Art Center in Pasadena where he was influenced by teacher Joseph Henninger.[1]

At the invitation of a friend, Utterback joined the design department of Playboy in the mid-sixties.[1] Utterback was asked to illustrate some caricatures for publication after an art director saw a birthday card Utterback had created for a fellow employee. This led to Bill’s regular feature in “That Was the Year That Was” [2] each April issue. After leaving Playboy, Utterback worked as a freelance illustrator from his home studio in Lisle, Illinois, servicing clients including The Second City until his death in 2010, and painted official portraits of Illinois Senator Pate Phillips which hung in the Illinois State Capitol building.

In later life, Utterback taught workshops at the DuPage Art League in Wheaton, Illinois, and sculpted a portrait likeness of Pate Phillips which was cast in bronze and unveiled in the DuPage County. Utterback died on February 8, 210 , at 79 years of age.


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January 29, 2014

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Duane Bryers was born in 1911 in the upper peninsula of Michigan

A  farm boy, who at times worked in a sawmill and dug ditches, swung from a trapeze in the circus, painted murals, drew comic strips and sculpted historical figures in ice, found success as a commercial artist and well-known painter of Americana.

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He began producing his Hilda collection in the mid-1950s.”I got the idea for a plumpy gal pinup and thought I’d like to make it into a calendar series,” Bryers said. “But how was I going to sell a plump girl?”He took his series to Brown & Bigelow, then the country’s top calendar maker, and “they reluctantly put it in the line and figured it would last a short time,” he said. “It went on for 36 years.”

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Duane Bryers died in 2013 just a month shy of his 101 st birthday.

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December 2, 2013

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Jack Welch was born in 1905. He was described as a tall Texan from Cleburn. He attended public school in Temple, Texas and started taking drawing lessons from the W. M. Evans Correspondence Course in Cartooning. For a short while he illustrated yearbooks for the Southern Methodist University. And from there he went on to work as a newspaper artist in New York, California, Seattle, Chicago and Philadelphia.

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Later on he moved on to working for an advertising agency as a sketch man doing sketches. He spent several years doing sketches and comprehensive drawings for advertising layouts. He was a natural in drawing children and thus was asked to design ads for Jell-o, Keds, Pullman and Traveler’s Insurance.


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The Saturday Evening Post magazine (one of the largest in circulation in the country at that time) took notice of Jack Welch’s style and talent. He was commissioned to do a few covers (see two below).

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Saturday Evening Post © Curtis Publishing.

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Saturday Evening Post © Curtis Publishing.

It’s a shame not much has been written about Jack Welch since he was such a great artist. My good friend and artist, the late Alex Toth, used to say how much he admired  Jack’s drawings. For a short time he was corresponding with one of Jack’s daughters.

Looking at Jack Welch’s drawings, you always got the feeling he was enjoying himself while doing it.

Jack Welch passed away in 1985

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November 25, 2013

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Sam Berman (1906–1995)[1] was an American caricaturist of the 1940s and 1950s.[2]

Berman was in high school when he began drawing cartoons for the Hartford Courant. He went to New York to study art and then landed a position as a staff cartoonist for the Newark Star Eagle. During the 1930s his political cartoons were published in color in Collier’s.

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After WWII, he did art for advertising agencies and created caricatures of leading radio performers for NBC’s promotion, The NBC Parade of Stars as Seen by Sam Berman: As Heard over Your Favorite NBC Station (1947), which had a print run of 5,000,000. With a tight deadline, he created caricatures of NBC’s most popular radio personalities and shows, each printed on a separate 6″x7″ card, and inserted in a green vinyl slipcase. The set of 56 caricatures included Fred Allen, Jack Benny, Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, Milton Berle, George Burns and Gracie Allen, Judy Canova, Eddie Cantor, Jerry Colonna, Dennis Day, Bob Hope, Eddy Howard, H. V. Kaltenborn, Kay Kyser, Art Linkletter, Robert Merrill, Frank Sinatra and Red Skelton, as well as the stars of Amos ‘n’ Andy.

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His advertising art included a unique approach of caricaturing ordinary people, as seen in his Pitney-Bowes Postage Meter ad which ran in The Saturday Evening Post in 1955. His children’s books include Pixie Pete’s Christmas Party (1937), Miriam Schlein’s Shapes (Scott Foresman, 1952) and Dinosaur Joke Book (Grosset & Dunlap, 1969). Other books illustrated by Berman include Sullivan Bites News: Perverse News Items (Little, Brown, 1954) by Frank Sullivan.

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As head of his own map-making firm, he created an unusual relief map, the six-foot Geo-Physical Globe. Berman lived in Chappaqua, New York and later lived in Spain.

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Berman died in 1995, aged 89.

From Wikipedia

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November 18, 2013


Harry Devlin was born in Jersey City on March 22, 1918. When Harry was just eight years old, his artistic talent became evident. In the third grade at the William Livingston School in Elizabeth, a picture he drew on the blackboard so amazed the teacher. He continued to flourish through junior high school, where he became the sole illustrator for the school’s main publication, The Marquis.

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In 1935, Harry graduated from high school. He then began attending Syracuse University, and majored in illustration. During his senior year he met his future wife, Dorothy Wende, majoring in Fine Arts. They were married on August 30, 1941 and had seven children.

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On October 30, 1942, Harry began his active duty in the Navy as an Ensign. He was assigned to the Office of Naval Intelligence and assumed responsibility for all illustrations necessary for members of the armed services to identify enemy planes. Rising to the rank of lieutenant at the end of World War II, Devlin returned to a private life and began a ten-year association with Collier’s Weekly. He created editorial cartoons and illustrations for the magazine’s advertisements and articles. From 1946 to 1955, in addition to his work for Collier’s, Harry illustrated the stories written each week by Bob Considine and Dorothy Kilgallen for the Saturday Home Magazine. During the early 1950’s Harry also produced editorial cartoons for The New York Daily News. Unlike Collier’s, he developed his own themes and enjoyed the creativity of the experience. However; when the News asked Harry to print a cartoon in support of Senator Joseph McCarthy, Harry refused as a matter of principle, and was promptly fired. By 1957, Collier’s Weekly was out of business, as television succeeded in taking over most of the advertising market.

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In 1963, his wife (Wende known by her friends) wrote and Harry illustrated Old Black Witch, which along with its two sequels, have sold over one-and-one-half million copies. A long list of children’s books came in time; most were written by Wende and illustrated by Harry.

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Today, Devlin’s works can be found in several New   Jersey private, corporate, and museum collections including the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum and the Morris Museum of Art.

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Harry Devlin passed away in November 25, 2001

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November 4, 2013

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Harold James Mowat once described his work as: “My medium is a piece of white paper and a black pencil, sometimes a bit of dirt from the floor. When I work, I’m at it from morning until late at night. I haven’t known the meaning of true peace of mind for years, but I infinitely prefer the uncertainties and struggles of the illustrator to any other game on earth.”


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H.J. Mowat was born in Montreal, Canada in 1879. He studied art at the New York School of Art. He always preferred to work in black and white, most of the time obscuring much of the details but also highlighting other areas for an overall tonality. He never quite achieved the popularity of some of his colleagues like F.R. Gruger, Arthur William Brown, Raeburn Van Buren. None the less, he was well respected and admired by his fellow artists who acknowledged his dedication. Mowat did a lot of work for the major publications during his time, such as The Saturday Evening Post, Ladies Home Journal, McCall’s, and Redbook. Mowat never became as popular with the public as did most of his more facile coworkers.

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The reason Mowat wasn’t able to attain the heights of other artists was the fact that he lavished so much time and expense on his models fees that he would barely brake even and the fact that he worked painfully slow.

Where it not for these I weaknesses I believe H.J. Mowat would have given the likes of F.R. Gruger, Arthur William Brown, Raeburn Van Buren and others a run for their money.

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H.J. Mowat passed away in 1949


October 29, 2013

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F.R. Gruger was born in 1871 in Pennsylvania. He spent most of his childhood in and around Lancaster, Pennsylvania where his father had a partnership in a marble yard. By all accounts he had an idyllic childhood surrounded by uncles, aunts and cousins.

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The story goes:  as a young man he admired the internationally acclaimed painter and illustrator Edwin Austin Abbey and spent most of his time copying Abbey’s work from books and periodicals. When an art gallery announced an exhibit for Abbey’s illustrations, Gruger took what he felt were his best efforts and travelled to Philadelphia to compare his with the original. When the proprietor saw the young man with an “Abbey” drawing in his hands he assumed it was being stolen. Once Gruger explained the drawing was his, the man was impressed with how accurately Gruger had copied Abbey. The proprietor then suggested Gruger to further his studies at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Which Gruger did.

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Gruger got his first job working with the old Century magazine. However, it was with the Philadelphia Ledger where he developed a method of drawing. The drawing was made with Wolf pencil, rubbed with a stump or eraser, often times over an underlying wash, which produced a full range of values, particularly a rich velvety black. The board was an inexpensive cardboard used by newspapers for mounting silver prints. This board has since become known as “Gruger Board”.

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In 1882, the editor of the Saturday Evening Post commissioned Gruger to illustrate a mystery story with 4 drawings and thus began a 45 years association with the Post. Gruger was always in great demand from other periodicals so much so that he had the luxury to make the rules with the editors. He would only accept manuscripts free of editorial suggestions and would not submit “roughs” and he had the right to choose the passage to be depicted. Aside from editors he was also sought after by some of the best writers of the times for him to illustrate their manuscripts, such as Somerset Maugham, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Agatha Christie, and Edna Ferber, to name a few.

A famous author once quoted Gruger saying: “You have said in your drawings what I tried to say in 100,00 words”.

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F.R. Gruger died in 1953 at the age of 82


October 21, 2013

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This one is for Bill Peckman

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Gustaf Tenggren was born on November 3, 1896 in the parish of Magra in Vastergotland, western Sweden. His parents Aron and Augusta had seven children and Gustaf was the second youngest of them. In 1913 he received a scholarship to study painting at Valand, the art school in Gothenburg, Sweden.

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After his first exhibition in 1920, Tenggren
left Sweden and moved to Cleveland,
, in the United States,
where his two sister had already settled, and from there, in 1922, to New York City. By 1923,
he was illustrating children’s book during the heyday of
illustrated books by illustrators such as Arthur
and Kay Nielsen. In 1923, Tenggren’s work appeared e.g.
in new releases of Tanglewood Tales and A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys,
as well as in The Christ Story for Boys and Girls by Abraham
. From 1923 to 1939, Tenggren worked for the game company Milton Bradley

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in 1936, he was hired by The Walt Disney Company, to work as a chief illustrator with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the popular feature-length movie originated in 1934 when Walt Disney decided to re-create the romantic fairy tale. Snow White was the first American feature-length animated film. Tenggren gave Snow White an “Old World” look that Walt Disney sought. His Rackham-style trees featured prominently in the forest scenes. He later worked with productions such as Bambi and Pinocchio, as well as backgrounds and atmospheres of films such as The Ugly Duckling and The Old Mill. His work throughout Snow White and in many of the richly detailed urban backgrounds of Pinocchio are obviously drawn upon his Scandinavian heritage and experience.

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Although his work for Disney was still in the Rackham fairy-tale illustration style, after he left the studio in 1940, he never painted that way again. From 1942 to 1962, Tenggren worked for Little Golden Books with illustrations for children’s books such as Tawny Scrawny Lion; Little Black Sambo and The Poky Little Puppy, which became the single all-time best-selling hardcover children’s book in English.

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After he moved to the United States in 1920, he never returned to Sweden again. Gustaf Tenggren died in 1970 at Dogfish Head in Southport, Maine.

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Homeward bound.


October 14, 2013

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Lawson Wood was born on 23 August 1878 in Highgate, London, the son of landscape artist Pinhorn Wood,[1] and the grandson of architectural artist L.J. Wood. He studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, Heatherley’s School of Fine Art and Frank Calderon’s School of Animal Painting.[2]


In 1896, he was employed with periodical publisher C. Arthur Pearson Ltd.[1] In 1902, he married Charlotte Forge. From the age of 24 he pursued a successful freelance career and was published in The Graphic, The Strand Magazine, Punch, The Illustrated London News, and Boys Own Paper. He illustrated a number of books including Louis Tracy‘s The Invaders in 1901 for Pearson.[2]

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By 1906, he was recognized for his humorous style, especially for his depictions of stone-age humans and dinosaurs.

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During World War I, Wood served as an officer in the Kite Balloon Wing of the Royal Flying Corps,[1] and was responsible for spotting planes from a hot-air ballon. The duty was dangerous, and Wood was decorated by the French for his action over Vimy Ridge.

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Wood was a recluse during his later years and dwelt in a 15th-century medieval manor house he moved brick by brick from Sussex to the Kent border.[1] He died in Devon on 26 October 1957 at the age of 79.[




October 7, 2013

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What could I possibly say about Jack Davis that hasn’t been said? What words could I possibly choose to explain why Jack Davis is admired and respected not only by his peers but by devoted fans and admirers from across the globe? The man, simply put, is a genius in his own right. Jack Davis stands on the shoulders of giants and is the epitome of a gentleman in the truest sense of the word.  Need I say more?

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The End